The Problem With Politics
Here's something I probably shouldn't start, but here goes. There are a couple of different ways to look at the legislative process: 1) You can respect people's differences and work to advance your beliefs while they work to meet their goals. This means that sometimes you come out ahead, sometimes they do, and sometimes you meet in the middle; or 2) You can constantly lash out at your opponents, hurling invectives in a scorched-earth strategy, and alienate people on both sides along the way.
I've tried to follow the first path. Judging by one of her comments on her post on the General Assmbly's "uberliberals", Jill Stanek unapologetically opts for door number two. Jill started her post with Nazi-esque cartoon (which she at least realized was not the best way to win friends and influence people, and has since been taken down). But in one of her comments, she says the following about the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, an issue on which I worked long and hard with Rep. Brandon Phelps, as well as representatives from both sides of the choice issue (many of whom had never sat down together at the table before). While addressing an issue that had all kinds of major repercussions, we reached a compromise solution with which all groups were comfortable and which was seen as a major accomplishment.
At least that's my view of it. Here, in her own words, is Ms. Stanek's (For the record, although Jill and I rarely agree, I have in the past told her personally that I respected her passion. Maybe that's why I'm all the more troubled by this issue.) :
Born Alive 2005 caused a huge panic among IL GA liberals.Here are the first problems that I have with her comments: First off, whether you liked the amendment or not, nobody on either side of the bill argued that it was redundant. Secondly, I can almost assure you that, without the amendment, that bill was not getting to the Governor's desk, let alone getting signed.
At first they dismissed it, as they had four prior years. Planned Parenthood came out against it, and the IL Med Society refused to endorse it. This put liberals in a bind when Born Alive began gaining steam.
The reason Born Alive 2005 got traction was because: 1) it was finally worded identically to the federal version, which passed unanimously in the US Senate; 2) pro-lifers were better organized and bolder.
Rep. Fritchey brokered a "compromise" that helped Planned Parenthood and IMS save face and gave pro-abort legislators a way to vote for Born Alive after they had come out against it.
The compromise was comprised of two unnecesary (sic) amendments stating Born Alive would not intrude on Roe v. Wade, and Born Alive would not intrude on accepted medical practices.
The amendments were unncessary because they were redundant. I didn't want them included, because we had the votes without them. I wanted to force uberliberals to vote against the bill. Go ahead, make my day. But I was overruled. And that is how Born Alive 2005 got through. (Emphasis added)
But the biggest problem I have is with this statement: I wanted to force uberliberals to vote against the bill. When you become more obsessed with political posturing or the destruction of 'your enemies' than you are about advancing your issues, you are devoid the very spirit upon which our system is predicated.
People will always, and in good faith, disagree about very substantive issues. And they have words for those people who want to quell dissent by simply eliminating their opposition, but I won't bandy them about here. During my years in the House, I think that I have become a better legislator by recognizing that among both friends and enemies alike, the level of respect that you receive will be commensurate with the amount that you give.
When passion and commitment turn to contempt and disrespect, nobody wins.